Julia: Hello Stefan! I am very happy that you are online today and tell us about your adventures. At the beginning it would of course be exciting to know who you are and what you do?
I'm actually quite normal. (laughs) Professionally, I am a biologist with a focus on infection diagnostics and have worked in science for a long time. 5 years ago I decided that I wanted to do something different and then slipped into the Marketing & Sales area. Now I work in sales for a large French company.
Julia: And how did you get into mountaineering?
I am now 42 years old and my love for the mountains began when I was 30, after my third puberty. For me, mountaineering started at the same time as taking photos, which is really easy to combine.
I then started in the Vienna mountains and quickly realized that I wanted to go higher. Then I have a variety of Made mountaineering and climbing courses at the Alpine Club. That was really exciting for me! Because none of my friends wanted to go mountaineering with me at the time, I also booked my first tours to higher mountains with the Alpine Club. I liked it so much that I started collecting 3000m in Austria and my third tour was on the Großglockner. After 10 years of mountaineering in Austria, I pretty much exhausted the mountain landscapes here.
After doing it for a long time, the desire to go to the really high mountains in the Himalayas grew bigger and bigger. When a rather difficult time followed in my private life, I took it as an opportunity to actually start this journey. Then I booked my trip to Tibet.
At the same time, I always wrote about my mountain tours on my blog and published my photos because I didn't want them to gather dust on my hard drive. It was also important to me to be able to tell a story about my photos.
Julia: How was your trip to Tibet then?
I was there for 16 days and saw a lot. Among other things, the Everest Basecamp, from there you have a wonderful view of several 8,000-meter peaks. I can really recommend Tibet as a travel destination to everyone! I filmed and photographed my entire trip and realized that it is no longer just about mountaineering itself, but about seeing the most beautiful mountains in the world.
At some point I started to tell my adventures in travel lectures and that was always very well received by the audience! As a result, I photographed differently during my travels, as I always had my travel lectures in the back of my mind, where I wanted to tell stories about pictures. Traveling abroad was no longer just about the mountains, but also about food and culture. I then always write down my reports on my website so as not to forget them myself.
Julia: Is there something that you write down after every trip to remind yourself of it again and again?
Actually, I just write everything down. What is particularly important to me are my own experiences and emotions during my travels. Ethiopia, for example, is a very poor but beautiful country. When I come back from there, I'm always grateful for the luxury we can live in here. I was impressed by how little the people there are happy with. I think the most important thing for me is to record my very personal experiences.
I also notice with every trip to an exotic country that I am becoming more open to other cultures. Traveling is a really nice treasure trove of experience for me that nourishes me for a while. When I come back from very poor countries, I am happy for half a year for everything I have and how well I am. And if it's not Corona at the moment, then after half a year you go on the next trip anyway.
Julia: And what is the significance of adventure in your everyday life?
For me it is very important because you follow your routines in everyday life. These are important too, but the adventure is an absolute contrast to them. When climbing mountains, I can really come out of myself and explore my limits. Getting out of your routines can be very helpful.
Julia: What was your biggest adventure so far?
Definitely my trip to Tibet. Although mountaineering in itself is always a great adventure. I think you feel completely different and are fully focused on one thing. For me, this trip had a very great emotional meaning, as my private life was just haywire and I saw Tibet as a new beginning. In addition, the moment I stood in front of Everest was unforgettable.
Julia: Were you always alone on your mountain tours or did you have someone with you?
I wasn't always alone, but most of the time I was. On difficult tours I always take a mountain guide and on nice days you are very rarely alone in the mountains. I've also walked a lot on my own, but in terms of safety it's better at least as a couple.
Julia: There is probably something meditative about being so alone in the mountains, isn't it?
Yes, of course, there is always something meditative about it. Especially the huge landscapes! I often just sit there and look at nature and take photos. I really enjoy doing that at the moment because I no longer have the urge to run up to every summit. For a while I was very driven, but now I take a leisurely look at the places and take enough time to photograph the most beautiful things.
Julia: Do you have big goals where you still want to go?
Yes, I still have several goals. Patagonia is certainly one of them, but also Alaska and New Zealand. I also really want to explore the Himalayas and Nepal again. I am sure to come up with new ideas when I talk to like-minded people.
Julia: Did you have a moment in your travels that you will never forget?
A special moment was the circumnavigation of Kailash, that was 53km in 3 days. The circumnavigation itself was very exhausting and I can still remember well when we reached the highest point and I was just incredibly relieved that I made it so far physically. But there are really many, sometimes it doesn't even have to be the greatest hardship. The atmosphere in the Scottish Highlands, for example, is really magical, like in a fairy tale!
Julia: What would also interest me, what was your greatest fear of your adventures and how did you overcome them?
I believe fear is not a good advisor. Of course I was always scared, but the urge to do it was always stronger. I often don't think about it too much and just do. On difficult tours I always had a mountain guide to support me anyway. In addition, after a while you get into touring mode anyway, where you focus on.
I once went on a tough tour on the Mönch and at the end you have to walk a 300m long ridge that goes downhill on both sides. My first step went right next to it, where I got panicked and trembling knees. But I had to go on and couldn't turn around. The first steps were still shaky, but then you become more confident again.
In general, I think that fear plays an essential part in mountaineering and that you have to get along well with it. But it feels good every time you've overcome them - so it always pays off!
Julia: What are your tips that you would give to other adventurers?
# 1 don't think too much, just do it
If you have an adventure on your mind, then you shouldn't be looking for 10 reasons why you can't do it, just do it!
# 2 capture your adventures in the form of videos
Film or take photos of those special moments to remember you forever.
# 3 Tell others stories about your adventures
If you like to report on your adventures, perhaps also in the form of lectures, never forget to bring your personal emotions to the table. How did you feel, how did you feel about the culture or how did you feel with your travel partners? People love to hear stories and storytelling makes every trip even more exciting.
Have a look at Stefan's blog: www.sc-fotoblog.com